AEW: Fight Forever Xbox Series X Review

Do you miss the days of those N64 wrestling games? All Elite Wrestling: Fight Forever mostly fills that void.

By MChipmunks, Posted 04 Jul 2023

Wrestling games from the past were simple but a lot of fun to play. The focus was on arcade-style fun instead of technical gameplay. AEW: Fight Forever aims to recapture the magic of the N64 and PS1 era of wrestling games. Anyone could perform flashy moves with just a few button presses. The accessible control scheme made these games easy to pick up and play, even for the most novice of gamers. Even Grandma can perform the One Winged Angel with ease!

AEW: Fight Forever, Xbox, Wrestling, Women, Lights Out, Tables, Fire

AEW: Fight Forever is the first console release for the fresh-faced wrestling promotion. The game was developed by Yuke’s who have a storied history when it comes to making wrestling games. Yuke’s are a Japanese game developer based in Osaka. They were founded in 1993 and didn’t release their first title until 1995 with New Japan Wrestling: Toukon Retsuden. In the years since, Yuke’s has had a lot of swings and some misses with wrestling titles. They are best known for the famous WWE: Smackdown vs. Raw games.

To say AEW: Fight Forever was in good hands is an understatement. One of the biggest wrestling stars on the planet and executive vice president of AEW, Kenny Omega, had involvement in the games' turnout. Omega would seek out WWF No Mercy and WCW/nWo Revenge director Hideyuki 'Geta' Iwashita to assist as director of AEW: Fight Forever. From the gameplay mechanics to the wrestler select screen, it screams N64 era wrestling games.

AEW: Fight Forever features not only high-octane arcade gameplay but also successfully captures the essence of all the wrestlers involved. Every single signature move, finisher, and taunt is fully intact for each superstar. The entrances are a bit short, lasting only 15 seconds. While it is nice to get into a match quickly, I don't see why it is a problem to provide the full entrance with a skip option. This would have felt a bit more immersive.

AEW: Fight Forever, Wrestling, Men, Skull, High Flyer, Xbox

There is a small selection of match types, which is a bit disappointing. Granted, this is consistent with what match types are actually offered in AEW. There is no Hell in a Cell, Elimination Chambers, and the like to sink your teeth into like you would find in a WWE game. However, AEW events such as Double or Nothing, All Out, and Revolution do make an appearance, complete with their unique set of rules. One particular highlight is the explosive-barbed wire death match.

The event was known for the countdown that was supposed to lead to an explosive firework show, but it fizzled out. A nod to this is the inclusion of an unlockable feature that allows you to set the explosives to the historic setting, which will produce uneventful sparks, as it played out in Jon Moxley and Kenny Omega's match. In addition to the standard fare, such as One-on-One matches and Tag Team matches, AEW's Lights Out matches are also available. A Lights Out match is a total blast, as falls count anywhere, there are no disqualifications, and you can use any weapon you want, and there are plenty of them.

AEW: Fight Forever features over forty usable weapons. Tables, chairs, safety signs, and even skateboards are all fair game. You can use them to knock the daylights out of your opponent. Sadly, there is no play-by-play commentary from legendary commentators such as Jim Ross and Taz. They only provide commentary before a match and in explanations of story mode scenarios. The story mode is called Road To Elite. In this mode, you can take on a season of shows and pay-per-view events as a created wrestler or one of the many AEW superstars.

AEW: Fight Forever, Barbed Wire, Wrestling, Men, Xbox

Road To Elite is not a fully fleshed-out game mode, instead feeling like filler content. Your wrestler of choice goes on a journey through week-long blocks where you can engage in various activities before the week’s match. You can exercise to increase the number of points you can spend on stat increases, but this only applies to your created wrestler. There is no incentive to exercise as an established superstar, as you cannot upgrade their stats. Your wrestler will have a motivation level and a battery level.

The higher your motivation, the more easily you can gain your wrestler’s signature move. It is easy to gain regardless, so winning matches is even easier. Your battery level shows your energy level. The less energy you have, the harder it is for your wrestler to perform. You can also go sightseeing at local spots, which will boost your momentum as you go from state to state each week. To regain energy, you can dine out and eat the locale's famous dish. For example, when you are in Canada, you will have poutine, and you can even read a snippet about each dish as you dine, which is neat.

Each week ends in a match on the respective AEW show, such as Dark, Rampage, and Dynamite. Eventually, a block will end with a pay-per-view match. Most of the cutscenes are recycled, with different wrestlers filling with the same lines of dialogue. Yuke’s have developed better career modes in some of their older titles. It comes as a bit of a shock with AEW: Fight Forever’s underwhelming Road to Elite mode. Road to Elite definitely needed more time in the oven. Here is hoping that future titles will develop this further.

AEW: Fight Forever, Xbox, Women, Men, Wrestling, Double or Nothing

As aforementioned, you can create your own wrestler. This is a staple for most wrestling games, for years now. Unfortunately, AEW: Fight Forever doesn’t quite stick the landing here. Your creativity is severely limited in how you can make your wrestlers. With a lack of accessories and total body customization, there is much left to be desired. There are only a handful of options for your wrestler’s voice as well. This is a real bummer, as creating your own wrestler is easily one of the most enticing features of any wrestling game.

As the debut console release for AEW, they certainly have kinks to sort out for future releases. Updates will go a long way for Create-A-Wrestler mode in hopes that they will provide much more options for customization. More accessories and clothing are a must. There is some unlockable content for clothes but in a miniscule amount. There are a few wrestlers you can unlock, including the legendary Owen Hart and Cody Rhodes, among others. It really felt old-school to be able to unlock characters, which is an old practice in the current gaming landscape.

In addition to creating a wrestler of your own, you can create tag teams and arenas. There was a decent amount of flexibility in these features compared to Create-A-Wrestler. You can let your freak flag fly by putting live animals on the side of the entrance ramp, among other things. You can change the mat type, turnbuckle covers, ropes, and any other objects near the stage. This is a cool addition, as the amount of stages is limited. Now, music is not to be overlooked. There are a massive amount of songs and customization options available to you. You can create multiple playlists to listen to while you play the game, or to use to pummel your opponents.

AEW: Fight Forever, Xbox, Wrestling, Men, Ladder

Out of any wrestling game to come before it, this might just have the biggest selection of songs to date. It is a lot of fun choosing what music speaks best to you. Feel like rap? There is a big selection. If you are more of a rock fan, you are covered here. There are songs for every kind of music listener. Superstars intros can actually be listened to in full since you can’t with their entrance appearances being so short.

Unfortunately, I did not have access to the online modes for this review. What is here for local matches is fine. This is the type of wrestling game to get the band back together to relieve those old days of playing wrestling games on your N64 and PS1. Underneath some glaring issues is a fun experience. The pickup and play nature of the game makes AEW: Fight Forever an incredibly accessible title than most of WWE’s 2K offerings. In a few matches, you have learned most of the game's mechanics, as the game does a good job with tutorial prompts.

Anytime you experience a first of any match or mode, retired professional wrestler William Regal, will explain the workings of the gameplay. The gameplay does have flaws that need to be addressed in a future update. Pinfalls are a big one. When an opponent goes for the pin, you will enter a state where you will need to button-mash to escape. It seems no matter how fast of a masher you are, escaping a pin is extremely difficult, even when your wrestler's health bar is at mid-level. Depending on your health, if it is extremely low, it's understandable you won’t be kicking out of that one.

AEW: Fight Forever, Wrestling, Pin, Men, Xbox

The graphics are also quite dated, even when playing on the latest and greatest hardware. This does not affect the score of this review in any way, as the gameplay is mostly solid. For a debut console title for AEW, there is plenty to be excited about. AEW: Fight Forever is a fun time, alone or with friends. It doesn’t take itself so seriously with its arcade-style gameplay. The price point of $59.99 is a big ask for a game with such a limited amount of content. I would consider picking this up in a sale if you want to shut your brain off and have a nostalgia-driven wrestling experience. If Yuke’s can keep up with updating AEW: Fight Forever with new content like more stages, wrestlers, and other features, they will have a real winner on their hands.


Michael Nicolosi (@ChipmunksMikey)
Editor, NoobFeed

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General Information

Platform(s): PC, PS5, XBSX, PS4, Xbox One, Switch
Publisher(s): All Elite Wrestling, THQ Nordic
Developer(s): Yuke's
Genres: Fighting
Themes: Wrestling, Arcade
Release Date: 2023-06-28

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